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“Fair access to Sustainable Farming Scheme for tenant farmers is vital for its success” – Lesley Griffiths

Mae’n hanfodol bod ffermwyr tenant yn cael pob cyfle teg i ymuno â’r Cynllun Ffermio Cynaliadwy” – Lesley Griffiths

The first meeting of a new Tenancy Working Group has taken place with the aim of ensuring the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) is accessible and suitable for tenant farmers across Wales.

In July the Welsh Government published its most detailed proposals so far on future support for farmers.

The SFS is being designed to support farmers produce food sustainably, alongside taking action to lower their carbon footprint and benefit nature. Importantly, the scheme is being designed so all farmers can access it.

The newly established Tenancy Working Group is made up of a number stakeholder organisations, including the Tenant Farmers Association, CLA, NFU Cymru and FUW.   

It will be exploring aspects of the SFS proposals such as contract length and practicality of the Universal Actions, which are designed to be met by all farmers including tenant farmers, as well as any other issues which would impact tenant farmers’ ability to join the scheme. 

The findings of this Tenancy Working Group will contribute to the final consultation on scheme design in 2023.  Farmers will start transitioning to the SFS from 2025.

Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “Tenanted land makes up a significant portion of farmland in Wales and if the SFS does not work for the tenanted sector then it does not work at all.

“We must keep farmers on the land and all farmers should be able to access the scheme

“Engagement with the new working group we have established will help us make sure the scheme is accessible and suitable for tenant farmers across Wales.

“I am grateful for the ongoing support of our stakeholders in the continuing development of the scheme to support farmers in the sustainable production of food and helping to tackle the climate and nature emergencies”

The outline proposals include a series of actions separated into three layers;

The first layer is a set of Universal Actions – actions that every farm should be able to deliver to receive a Baseline Payment.  To prevent a barrier to scheme entry, all Universal Actions are being designed to be delivered by farmers on tenancy agreements.

Farmers who want to go further, can receive extra payments by choosing from a range of Optional Actions depending on what suits their farm.  Actions which cannot be delivered on short-term or restrictive tenancies will be in the optional layer unless there are suitable exemptions for tenant farmers.

There will also be opportunity for farmers to work together on Collaborative Actions at a local or regional scale to deliver outcomes that cannot be delivered on a single farm.

Working groups are also being established to explore other themes in relation to the SFS such as common land and new entrants. All information on the Sustainable Farming Scheme, can be found here.